Haiti - FLASH : American rice exported to Haiti contains twice as much arsenic as Haitian rice - HaitiLibre.com : Haiti news 7/7

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Haiti - FLASH : American rice exported to Haiti contains twice as much arsenic as Haitian rice
26/02/2024 08:58:41

Haiti - FLASH : American rice exported to Haiti contains twice as much arsenic as Haitian rice
According to a study by researchers at the University of Michigan, published in the "Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development", exports of American rice to Haiti (2nd largest buyer of American rice after Mexico and Japan), present significant arsenic levels more than twice as high as rice grown in Haiti.

Excerpts from the study :

"In August 2020, we collected samples of local (n=48) and imported (n=50) rice from vendor sites in the Lower Artibonite Valley region of Haiti. Cadmium and arsenic concentrations were measured via inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Levels were compared between local versus imported commercial rice samples.

Tests showed that average concentrations of arsenic and cadmium were almost double in imported rice compared to local rice.

"In Haiti, imported rice had an average level of arsenic twice that of a locally grown product, with some imported sources exceeding international limits recommended to protect human health. Current long-term imported rice consumption patterns for children and adults could have a negative impact on health in Haiti.

" [...] We found that median concentrations were nearly two-fold higher for both arsenic and cadmium in imported rice (0.15 μg/g and 0.007 μg/g) compared to local rice (0.07 μg/g and 0.003 μg/g).

"Haitians consuming about 85 kg (187 lbs.) annually per capita in 2020—an increase from 66 kg (146 lbs.) per capita annually in 2010 (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations [FAO], 2023). In comparison, the average American consumes 12 kg (27 lbs.) of rice each year (USA Rice, n.d.).

"Given the propensity of rice plants to absorb and concentrate arsenic and cadmium from the environment in their grains (Zhao & Wang, 2020) a significant consumption of rice daily throughout the A lifetime can increase the risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes, according to the University of Michigan study.

Download the Study on the accumulation of arsenic and cadmium in rice from the environment (Zhao & Wang, 2020) (English PDF): https://www.haitilibre.com/docs/etude-riz-arsenique-cadmium-2.pdf

Additionally, the study reveals that "adults of varying weights consuming 3 or more cups of imported rice per day would exceed a daily minimum risk level for toxicity. The simulation also suggests that most children consuming 1 or more cups of local or imported rice per day would exceed a health-based arsenic intake limit.

Some recommendations from the Haitian Rice Study advise "the government and Haitians to do more to support local rice farmers and the national agricultural sector so that Haitian consumers can have access to safe, locally grown food."

They also highlight the need for more research to assess the levels of arsenic present in the bodies of Haitian consumers and the likelihood of adverse health effects linked to chronic exposure to arsenic.

Additionally, they call for an ethical investigation into rice companies in the United States and other countries that export foods containing high levels of arsenic to Haiti and other low- and middle-income countries.

Following the publication of an article on Saturday February 24, 2024 reporting the results of a study carried out by the University of Michigan demonstrating the presence of an arsenic level more than double that of local rice, the “USA Rice” Federation was quick to react in a press release published the same day

Reaction from "USA Rice" (press release):

In response to a recent article regarding the health implications of US rice exported to Haiti, as illuminated in a University of Michigan study, the USA Rice Federation reaffirms its unwavering commitment to the highest standards of quality and health in all its rice exports.

The USA Rice Federation is the global representative of the U.S. rice industry, prioritizing a safe, nutritious and affordable supply of high-quality rice. Our members rigorously adhere to strict quality control protocols, demonstrating our unwavering dedication to health and excellence through adherence to safety standards that often exceed global standards.

Rice and Food Security in the United States :
American rice is non-GMO and is grown, milled and packaged according to the highest environmental safety and worker protection standards in the world.

Facts about Rice and Arsenic :
Rice grown in the United States contains the lowest levels of arsenic in the world, according to the World Health Organization, and the industry is constantly studying the issue to make our already low levels even lower. It is crucial to understand that arseric is produced naturally in the environment and is present in everything that grows in the soil.

Nutritional Value : American rice is a nutritious staple, providing essential carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals and plays a vital role in a balanced diet.

The U.S. rice industry believes that our rigorous quality controls and adherence to international health standards demonstrate the safety and nutritional value of American rice. We are open to dialogue and collaboration with the academic community to ensure the dissemination of accurate and scientifically based information, which unfortunately the University of Michigan report is not.

The USA Rice Federation is committed to continuous improvement and transparency. We will engage with relevant stakeholders, including researchers, health experts and international partners, to address concerns and strengthen the safety and quality of our exports."

To find out more:

Download the full study from the University of Michigan (English PDF) : https://www.haitilibre.com/docs/etude-riz-arsenique-cadmium.pdf
Submitted August 8, 2023 / Revised October 3 and November 21, 2023 / Accepted November 24, 2023 / Published online February 2, 2024 in the "Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development"

Download the Study on the accumulation of arsenic and cadmium in rice from the environment (Zhao & Wang, 2020) (English PDF) : https://www.haitilibre.com/docs/etude-riz-arsenique-cadmium-2.pdf

SL/ HaitiLibre

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